Audi decided to institute a phase of reduced work hours for six days between February 20-27 at its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Germany plants. The arrangement affects some 25000 employees, although divisions not directly associated with the production of automobiles were exempted from the reduced work hours.
Although Audi concluded 2008 with the sale of one million cars and a new sales record, the company will not be able to permanently elude the negative impact of the current financial crisis. "The overall demand in some major markets has dropped so drastically, especially in the last few weeks, that we've been forced to act," said Dr Werner Widuckel from Management for Human Resources at Audi AG. "By reducing work hours we're securing the jobs of employees and can be confident of having good prospects for the future." He added that the company is holding to its long-term targets for growth and is continuing its model initiative as planned.
"Preparations are therefore continuing at full speed for the start of production of the six new models due for launch this year," said Frank Dreves from Management for Production at Audi.
Company management and the works council agree the future of Audi's permanent staff is secure. This is also confirmed in the Zukunft Audi (Future of Audi) agreement that rules out layoffs due to operational conditions until 2011.
"The works councils in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm will be able to agree to the company's proposal for reduced work hours," said Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of Audi. He also emphasized that the reduction in work hours serves to secure jobs. "In the agreement on reduced hours compensation allowance, we agreed with the Board of Management on a gross increase in the reduced hours compensation. Through this, remuneration should for the most part be equalized."
Audi AG sold a total of 1,003,000 cars in 2008 and thus achieved its thirteenth consecutive record year. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Gyr (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of local production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007 and of the Audi A4 in early October 2008. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. Audi AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini Holding SpA. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57000 people worldwide, including 45000 in Germany.
The brand invests more than 2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40. The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in 2009. The company was founded by August Horch in Zwickau on July 16, 1909; he named it Audi after the Latin translation of his surname ("hark!").